Hearts: Gary Locke demands more fight from his young side

Gary Locke wants to see more fight from his young Hearts side in spite of the challenges they face this season.

The administration-hit Jambos squad is threadbare due to a transfer embargo and they lost 4-0 at home to Kilmarnock on Boxing Day.

"I'm not going to stand here and make excuses because we can compete better than what we did," said Locke.

"Physically we're a bit short, but we've still got players out there who can do better."

If we're to give ourselves any chance, we've got to start winning our home games

Gary Locke Hearts manager

Hearts last Scottish Premiership point came in November and since then they have conceded 19 goals in five games.

They sit bottom on -3 points, 14 short of Ross County in 11th.

"If we're to give ourselves any chance, we've got to start winning our home games," Locke told BBC Scotland.

"It doesn't matter if you've got experienced players out there, you've got to do better."

In the last two games, Hearts have been unable to fill the seven substitute slots permitted.

An injury to talisman Ryan Stevenson has further restricted Locke's options and the manager admits the responsibility placed on young shoulders is taking its toll.

"I think you're seeing, especially in the last couple of games, that it's a big ask," he said.

"You can definitely see there's one or two lacking in confidence.

"The only way they're going to get that back is by digging in, working hard, and when we've got the ball just trying to keep it simple.

"I just feel the lack of experience on the pitch is hurting us."